Parking becoming a bigger problem on and off campus

Cars+Parked+at+Crowley+Park+

Cars Parked at Crowley Park

The Wood Word, Editorial Board

It’s no question that parking has been and probably always will be a problem for Marywood students on campus. But this year, the parking dilemma seems to have worsened with the drastic increase in parking permit cost.

Flash back to three years earlier, to a time when the cost of an on-campus parking permit was $100. This was not a bad price to park a car on campus. Institutions around the area have varied parking permit prices ranging from $45- $140. However, in the past two years, Marywood parking permits have increased annually by $50, this year amounting to a whopping $200 for a parking permit.

When The Wood Word asked Campus Safety why the price has dramatically increased in the last three years, Chief of Campus Safety, Mike Finegan, said it is the board of trustees that makes decisions regarding the cost of parking permits, and he wasn’t clear on the reason for the increases.

“While I can’t say for sure what the reason for the increase was, I think additional revenue would be a reasonable assumption,” said Finegan. He also said that despite the increase in cost, he has not seen any drop in parking permit sales this year.

Vice president for business affairs, Joseph Garvey, explained that he evaluates and determines the proposed parking costs and passes the recommendations to the board, which make a final decision based on his recommendations.

But, regardless of the reasons for the increase, the continually rising cost has proven challenging for a stereotypical “poor college student.” As a result, many Marywood students resort to cheaper alternatives, like parking off campus and on the streets surrounding the campus.

The number of parked cars has increased on busy roads around the university, including University Avenue, North Washington Avenue, and Fairfield Street. Many students are also now parking in the Crowley Park lot, the park behind the Woodlands Apartments, which serves as an inconvenience for families who actually want to use the park facilities.

Parking in these places may seem like a great idea. It’s free, after all. But, it may actually come at a cost. Although parking on designated roads that do not require parking permits is legal, doing so can create a hazard for local traffic and residents.

The Wood Word spoke with one concerned local resident, who asked not to be identified, about how this “off campus” parking is affecting her neighborhood. She reported a significant increase in cars on her street this semester, which she believes increases safety issues because of the increased traffic.

She also finds it a hazard for local children that live in the neighborhood due to the increased traffic. Her biggest concern has yet to come: winter. “During busy times, I frequently have to pull over to allow cars going the other way to pass.  And when roads are snowy or icy, these frequent pullovers can be hazardous, increasing the risk of either sliding or getting stuck,” she said.

The Crowley Park parking lot has also become a place of concern. Generally, from Monday-Friday Crowley park is full of cars, all with stickers reading “Marywood University” on their back window. Not only does this create challenges for visitors who actually intend to use the park, but it also creates safety concerns for the students parking there, as Campus Safety does not monitor this lot since it is not actually a part of the Marywood campus.

Addressing the Crowley Park issue will be difficult because it is legal to park in the lot since it is a public facility, but it’s clear that the lot is being abused by students and has the potential to create safety concerns.    While it’s important that students make decisions in their best financial interests, and while that might include not purchasing an on-campus parking permit, it’s also important that we respect the community surrounding our campus. Evading that $200 parking permit fee may not be the answer. So, think before you park, and remember to consider your own personal safety and the safety of the surrounding community as you do.